Studies in American Political Development

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Review Essay

Governmental Institutions as Agents of Change: Rethinking American Political Development in the Early Republic, 1787–1835*

Richard R. Johna1

a1 University of Illinois at Chicago


* Of the many individuals who have helped me sort out the ideas in this essay, I should like particularly to thank Andrew R. L. Cayton, Colleen A. Dunlavy, Robert P. Forbes, William J. Novak, Peter S. Onuf, Jack N. Rakove, Daniel Scott Smith, Benson Stein, Gordon S. Wood, Bertram Wyatt-Brown, Alfred F. Young, and two anonymous referees for Studies in American Political Development. None of these individuals, of course, are responsible for what I have done with their good advice. I am also indebted to Karen Orren for editorial suggestions that have improved the text. Earlier versions were presented at the Newberry Library's seminar in social history and at the Woodrow Wilson Center of the Smithsonian Institution. I am especially grateful to the Wilson Center for financial assistance in the preparation of an earlier draft.